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Thomas Clarke

(1858—1916) Fenian organizer


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(1857–1916), lifelong republican and first signatory of the 1916 Proclamation. Clarke grew up in South Africa before settling in Dungannon, Co. Tyrone. At the age of 21 he emigrated to the United States, where he became involved in Clan Na Gael. He went to England in 1883 on a bombing mission (see bombing campaigns in great britain), but was arrested and sentenced to penal servitude for life. Upon his release in 1898 he returned to the USA. In 1907 he came to Dublin and bought a newsagent's which became a centre of IRB activity. With Sean MacDermott he was responsible for the publication of the radical newspaper Irish Freedom. In protest against the visit of George V to Ireland he organized the first commemoration of Wolfe Tone at Bodenstown in 1912. As one of the founders of the IRB military council, which organized the rising of 1916, he was responsible for inviting Pearse to become their front man. He fought in the General Post Office, and was executed after the rising.

From The Oxford Companion to Irish History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: European History.


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